scavenging for an upgraded party/garage dsl laptop

Well, I am relieved to find that at least two other people have or have had DSL PCs in their garage. It's good to not be alone.

But this week has been a scavenger hunt for old Dell laptop parts. You see, my wife's Latitude 500Mhz CPx was falling apart and overburdened by too much Windows and too little ram. So I raided the store of old Latitudes stored (for some unknown reason) in the server room at work. Now I'm not the "IT Guy" and it requires special cooperation and skills to "borrow" "dead" laptops "to get a few parts from". God bless my IT guys. I help them out (ie: let them borrow my tools and am generally a low-maintenance user) and they let me part-out old laptops. Symbiosis, pure and simple... Although they have asset tags, old, dead laptops probably don't exist "officially" any more, most of them having last been booted over two years ago. Of course, all of them were under 1Ghz. Two yielded good keyboards, one yielded a PCMCIA slot assembly, one yielded a good touchpad/wrist rest/speakers. Before long I had three whole, working machines and one really dead one and a slow one. One of the repaired ones is a 400Mhz CPi, much like the 333Mhz CPi that was so useful in the garage, but with a LCD panel that stands up straight.

Now the cool part. We Experiment: take the drive out of the DSL laptop and put it in the other soon-to-be-formerly corporate windoze laptop. I do. It boots. It runs. It lets me blog. So now I reassemble up the old 333Mhz and pack it back to the server room for semi-permanent storage. It's a zero-sum game here: you only get one laptop to play with at a time and always need to return what you "borrowed". So the stack of laptops in the server room is the same height and I now have two dsl-capable laptops (500Mhz CPx and 400Mhz CPi) and a "new" 750Mhz CPx for the wife.

Can life get any better? I submit that it can not.

From N. Texas,


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Part piles.

Something several friends and I have done, largely to facilitate charity projects, is create the "parts pile". In simplest terms, we keep a rough accounting of what we all have "on hand and expendable" so we can offer it up to those in need.

Think of it like those "need a penny, take a penny, have a penny, leave a penny" jars. Enough people banking stuff in and out of the parts pile and it eventually all evens out.

And, everyone has a source for obscure tech bits.

I noticed you're in N.Texas. If you happen to be in or around D/FW feel free to message me.


messaging you

I would if I knew another way than this.
Drop me a line at banddad at homeintexas dot net
For the last couple of years I call Euless TX home. About as DF/W as you can get without needing to worry about someone shorting the runway. 13R departures go right over the house.
BTW: I am a great believer in sharing my parts piles. Out of the parts piles at work and at home, I was able to add another working dsl-capable laptop to my stable (from one to two) and upgrade my wife to something that runs win2k a little less slowly than the one before (750Mhz instead of 500Mhz). The piles in both places are the same size but now one of the piles consists of working machines and the other doesn't. Such is life.